Check the Technique

I guess Sean Paul didn’t get the memo. Though I’m interested in hearing Mr. Henriques’s new record and curious to hear the pop-influence in his tunes, I’m more curious to know what the thought process was regarding the title of the album as well as the album art. There’s seems to be no native-influence in any of the tracks on the record, and my bit of googling has found no explanation for the mohawk, image of tomahawk and “Tomahawk Technique” title. Not that any of this would really matter that much, it’s just that I wanted to see if there was any reason for the imagery selected. I’d seen Sean Paul’s new hairdo, and I didn’t think much of it, but in combination with the other bits and pieces that come together to produce the cover, I’m left thinking this is yet another example of appropriation of Native American culture.

As an entry into the North American market, perhaps Sean Paul’s people might have thought the imagery through a little more. I can suggest some resources if they want. They also might wish to have a conversation with A Tribe Called Red (who know more than a little about dancehall, hip hop, pop music and making people dance, all while showing respect for indigenous cultural history).

Update:

This post got the most views I’ve ever had in a single day. Interestingly, there were no comments… There were, however, comments when A Tribe Called Red’s Deejay NDN reposted the link. I asked permission to reprint NDN’s as well as Justine Campeau’s comments as I think they make the issue pretty clear.

      Deejay NDN

  • It’s not JUST the hair…I think he’s cashing in on the “hipness” to be “Indian”. There was a trend in Jamaica in the 90’s where they sang songs about being Indian.

  • Maybe I’m overly sensitive because I see my culture being appropriated every where and no one’s calling anyone on it.

  • It’s about culture jacking. That was the original point of this post. I love Sean Paul and now I’m a little disappointed. That’s it.

  • Now if you want to have a conversation about why all Aboriginal themed sports nicknames and mascots (including the Blackhawks) are harmful to an entire race of people, we could do that too.

  • It’s the faux hawk mixed with “Tomahawk Technique”. It’s culture jacking. I LOVE Sean Paul and a little disappointed, is all.

    Justine Campeau

  • Mohawk + the title “tomahawk” means something different. It’s using a stereotype of a culture and wouldn’t be ok if it was some white chick w neon corn rows with the title “yo dawg”. People aren’t educated enough about the histories of this bruised and broken culture. For some reason, they are the first for people to use their ignorance against rather than being the first that people that should be respectfully backed off from.
  • These people aren’t out to stick first nations people, but they’re too ignorant to know what they’re using and saying isn’t ok.
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